Tag Archives: Food Forrest

Perennial Plants

Planting perennials, especially edible perennials, on your property is an investment in your property and is a long term investment that pays dividends rather quickly.  A perennial is a plant that you establish once and it comes back year after year.  Your plant may take some maintanence, but the first year of establishment will take the most work.  The upfront cost of a perennial is more than than an annual, but when a $20 tree lasts decades, it is easy to understand the perennials’ pay-off.

Perennials, specifically trees, do more than just provide food year after year.  They provide shelter for song birds, nectar for bees and butterflies, provide shade, have beautiful blooms and help prevent erosion.  Annuals, when done without thought, can deplete soil and add to erosion.

Here are some the perennials we have added to our property thus far:

Blueberries:

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The beautiful bush has beautiful flowers in spring, followed by berries and present a red hue in fall, .  I have planted 16 of these plants on our property so far and may plant more in the future.  I have heard that the plants will last up to 50 years.  That may be the rest of my life.  We have selected six different types blueberries that fruit from the beginning of summer to the beginning of fall and each has a slightly different flavor.

Strawberries:

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We planted a total of 50 plants from two different varieties.  They live around the blueberry plants as they both like acidic soil.  You can expect about 3 years of production out of strawberry plants. They make an excellent ground cover and produce beautiful white flowers.  Beautiful and Tasty!  This is the theme of my landscaping.

Elderberry:

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This is one of the two elderberry trees I planted less than two weeks ago which was shipped bare roots.  Being shipped bare roots means that when your tree arrives, it looks like a dead stick.  So please don’t judge it’s appearance yet.  You can see it has little green leaves sprouting.  The plant is starting to make itself feel at home.

Elderberries are medicinals.  Elderberry syrup can be used as a powerful antibiotic that is not harmful to your natural balance as medicines provided by the big pharmaceutical companies.  (my opinion, and I’m not a doctor)  The fact is that you can buy elderberry syrup on Amazon for between $10 – $20 for 8 ounces.  or you can make it yourself, which I will demonstrate once I have elderberries from my trees to use.

You can also make elderberry wine, and jelly.  A well-rounded plant with many uses.

Apple Tree:

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Currently, I have two apple trees. I’m not sure if or how many more we may add.  Apples trees also get beautiful white flowers before they fruit, and can fruit for up to 50 years.

Paw Paw:

20140513_190939What in the world is a paw paw?  A paw paw is actually a plant that is native to the Eastern United States.  For those of use living in that region, it means they are quite easy to grow.  The flowers are gorgeous and attract the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.  Some gardeners and wildlife lovers plant this tree for the sole purpose of enjoying the Zebra Swallowtail and the beautiful blooms of the tree.  BUT WAIT!! THERE’S MORE!  Easy to grow, beautiful, attracts and supports a rare butterfly.  More than that? Yes.

Paw paws produce a fruit that has a custard-like consistency and tastes like vanilla banana.  You will need more than one, as they are not able to pollinate themselves.

Plums:

IMG_1994I have one plum tree that is a self-pollinating variety.  This spring it treated us to beautiful flowers for over a week.  The show it puts on competes with that of the exclusively decorative trees.  And you get delicious sweet fruits from it.

Peach Tree:

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This was a bonus on our property.  This peach tree lives on the edge of the wooded area, and we assume it is a volunteer from a discarded peach pit.  We were pleasantly surprised by peaches last year, and we look forward to it again.  Jaxson enjoyed them quite a bit:

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Almond Tree:

This looks very similar to the peach tree and is related to the peach tree.  In fact, the peach and almond tree can cross pollinate.  As you can see, both trees get beautiful pink blooms in Spring.

Pear Tree:

We have two Pear trees in our chicken run. They look very similar to the apple trees and have wonderful white flowers in the Spring.

We also have 2 grape vines, asparagus, lavender and mint (which has a hint of chocolate).  We still have many more perennials we are planning on adding.

You may be thinking, “What are you going to do with all of this fruit?”. We do food preservation.  We would like to share our wholesome, natural, local food with our community.  So once we get a surplus, we may make it available for purchase.  What we don’t eat, preserve, or share we can give to our chickens and let the birds eat.  And even if they rot on the ground, they are adding fertility to our soil.  There are so many pros and not many cons.